After failing to buy Gemma the Rovers, Henry has a confession to make. We spoke to George Banks about Henry and Gemma's relationship and what that means for the future.
How genuine are Henry’s feelings for Gemma, a few weeks ago he did have a fiancè?
He did but I think he loves Gemma, he risked a lot by choosing to be with her. I think his engagement to Cressida was an arranged agreement between the families and one he was never really happy with. The time he had with Gemma previously was the probably the happiest time he’s ever had.
They had an unusual start to their relationship, do you think Henry’s feelings for Gemma have grown?
I think we saw a touch of that before he left, he had the bet with Hugo but when Hugo started to press him about Gemma and make fun of her we saw Henry defend her, it was just a shame Gemma never got to hear that before she found out the truth about the bet.
What sort of reaction did you get on the street after that initial stint?
One of the weirdest ones I had was the first time someone recognised me as Henry and I was in the bank in a queue and a lady sidled up next to me and said ‘ooh you’re a swine aren’t you’. I was a bit puzzled at first, then when she said ‘what you’ve done to Gemma’ it clicked. There was nothing vicious, but people were not best pleased with what he was up to when he was first around.
At the point Henry’s come back the audience can see something growing between Chesney and Gemma, is Henry aware of that?
Henry doesn’t see Chesney as a threat whatsoever. Because they had a fight the last time Henry was around, probably the first punch Henry’s ever thrown, he’s aware Chesney sees himself as Gemma’s protector but I don’t think he believes there’s a romantic connection, certainly not from Gemma’s point of view.
Gemma is quickly head over heels again, and even manages to forgive Henry for not buying her the Rovers, are they going to live happily ever after?
I think they could but Henry is hiding something. What’s nice about them is when he came back he thought he needed to win her over with these fancy gestures but actually after that has all died down we’ve seen how well they work together and the relationship they could have. Henry’s had a very privileged upbringing and as a result he's been quite sheltered and grown up with a sense of entitlement, whereas Gemma’s had to work hard for everything so in that respect she’s the antithesis of him but they work well together, they learn from each other, he’s helping Gemma understand her value and she’s making him see the value of hard work. But Henry’s going to be faced with some pretty tough choices and we’ll have to see if he makes the right ones.
Henry’s looking over his shoulder as his past catches up with him, he needs money and he cottons on to the fact that Rita has some. As we see Henry attempt to con Rita do you think this is something Henry has done before or is it just desperation?
It’s pure desperation, because he has that background he’s never wanted for anything so this is the first time he’s been in a situation and he can’t buy his way out of it. He’s very proud, he could just be honest with Gemma and say this is happening I need help, but his pride gets in the way.
His next plan is to throw himself down the stairs, fake an accident and claim on the Rovers insurance, is that just spur of the moment?
I think he just sees an opportunity to get himself out of a big hole. It’s quite dark but it’s desperation, there have been opportunities leading up to this to get his hands on the money that he’s seen and not taken, and at this point all he’s thinking is that he needs this money now no matter what and it’s the last resort. There are no other options on the table and in his eyes if he doesn’t come up with the money he’s a dead man.
Does this show the lengths Henry’s prepared to go to, in his eyes, to save his relationship with Gemma?
Yes, he’s risked a lot to be in this relationship, he’s turned his back on his family, and I think the idea of that all ending over money is devastating for Henry. It’s whether in his mind he can make the ends justify the means. In his eyes his dishonesty is to save his relationship with Gemma, and in the back of his mind he hopes that if she ever found that out she would accept that. It’s a risky option!
How are you enjoying being back at Coronation Street for a second time, did you know your character would be coming back?
I didn’t know he’d be back, no. It’s a pleasure to be back at Coronation Street and working with Dolly, we’re both very silly and this time we’re that bit more comfortable around each other to try new things. We’re enjoying playing the fun things that couples do, seeing some of their private moments, and Dolly is such fun to work with that it's been great.